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7 Inspired Bets on Young Sporting Stars

September 11, 2014

There’s no finer boast at the local boozer than proudly proclaiming you spotted a leading athlete first. Whether you witnessed Wayne Rooney playing for Everton reserves before his famous goal against Arsenal or you noticed Floyd Mayweather capture a bronze medal at the 1996 Olympics, everybody loves to say I told you so when it comes to the next big thing. Now and then, people take this to the extreme, spotting a child prodigy and proclaiming them to be the next superstar of the sport. And sometimes, they’re right. Here’s our list of the top 7 spectacular wagers on youngsters to shine in the sporting world.

Chris Kirkland


The well-publicised debut of Chris Kirkland in an England shirt was seemingly something of a relief to the 6’5” ‘keeper who now plies his trade at Sheffield Wednesday. With his father, friends and family mucking together in a 100/1 bet that he would represent England, it appears that the pressure was something of an annoyance to Kirkland:

“My dad never mentions it, but it’s brought up all the time by other people and that’s annoying. Hopefully I can get it over and done with as soon as possible and then people can stop talking about it.”

Hopefully the £9,908.10 they’ve banked will let you get back to barking at the defence now, Chris.

Harry Wilson

It’s one thing to bet on a child or teenager becoming a sporting star, but to spot talent at just 18-months is quite incredible! Proud grandad Pete Edwards slapped down £50 at odds of 2500/1 that the youngster would go on to represent the Welsh international football team. He did him one better, becoming the youngest player ever to appear for his country breaking Gareth Bale’s record in a 1-1 draw against Belgium.

Ryan Tuncliffe

Manchester United are a club renowned for giving their youth players a chance in the first team, but with so many talented players coming through the ranks it is a one-in-a-million chance to make it at Old Trafford. That didn’t deter Ryan Tuncliffe’s father who invested £100 when his son was just nine-years-old that he would one day represent the Red Devils. His bet cashed in on September 26th 2012 when his son came off the bench for a £10,000 windfall. Although Tuncliffe has since moved on from United there is still an outside chance that his dad will land a further £35,000 should he ever break into the England squad. Over to you, Roy.

Rory McIlroy


When Rory McIlroy lifted the Claret Jug this year his dad wasn’t all smiles just because his son had won the Open – him and his friends had snagged £180,000 themselves!

With a clear eye for talent, Gerry McIlroy and his associates had laid down 600/1 that his son would win the prestigious golf tournament and even gave the bookies a ten-year time deadline, such was his confidence. It paid off as Rory romped to the title. He didn’t do too bad himself either; as the winner of the open he received £975,000. Not to be sniffed at.

Shane Williams

With rugby union star Shane Williams yet to make his debut for the Welsh national side, his father could already see his name in lights and bet his money accordingly. Gareth Thomas’ 40-tries was the total to beat as Mr Williams Snr. placed £50 on his son beating the record at odds of 500/1. Shane achieved that feat against France netting his dad a cool £25,000. He went on to beat the record comfortably with a total of 58 tries for the Red Dragons.

Roger Federer


Regarded among the greatest tennis players of all time, Roger Federer was not yet the household name he now is when fan Nick Newlife placed the confident wager of £1,520 at odds of 66/1 for the rising star to bag no fewer than seven Wimbledon titles by 2019. Federer’s dominance over the ensuing years made this bet a sure thing, with the only disappointment being that Mr Newlife didn’t live long enough to see his bet come to fruition.

There is a silver lining, however; the bet was left to Oxfam and the charity collected £100,000 towards good causes thanks to eagle-eyed Mr Newlife’s generosity. It wasn’t his first winning bet of this nature – Oxfam also collected £17,000 from another bet he left that rightly predicted Federer would win at least 14 Grand Slams.

Lewis Hamilton


When these bets are placed by adoring family it is easy to write them off as heart-over-head, but in the case of Richard Hopkins there is no doubt that the wagers were placed purely on ability. Having taken his own son go-karting, Mr Hopkins saw a 13-year-old Lewis Hamilton run circles around him, prompting the freelance journalist to hotfoot it to the nearest bookies.

He placed three separate bets on Hamilton. He placed £200 on Hamilton to win a Grand Prix by the age of 23 at odds of 200/1, £100 that he would win the World Championship by the age of 25 at 500/1, and a cheeky £50 on both at 1500/1. Many will remember the dramatic fashion in which Hamilton secured his World Championship, seemingly dead-and-buried before a rival’s mistaken choice of tyres backfired and handed Hamilton the position he needed for the win.

All in all Mr Hopkins netted an incredible £125,000.

About the author

Eric Roberts
Eric Roberts

Sports Journalist

Eric has been a sports journalist for over 20 years and has travelled the world covering top sporting events for a number of publications. He also has a passion for betting and uses his in-depth knowledge of the sports world to pinpoint outstanding odds and value betting opportunities.